It is unsure if Bengaluru is a commuter-friendly City but with the increasing number of animal lovers here, one among who is Santosh Shekhar, the City is definitely coming to be known as pet-friendly. A pet enthusiast from a very young age, Santosh says he wanted to address the gap between pet owners and pets, which struck him with the idea of starting — Pet Cab.
The Pet Cab is an Omni van, with paw prints of a puppy on it and where the pets can travel in luxury. It is also the peer pressure that led Santosh to start Pet Cab, which is the first and one-of-its kind services in India. “I used to visit my friend often, who rented kennels for pet dogs. He arranged the boarding for the pets when their owners were away. That is when I was introduced to the problems faced by the pet owners, the main one being the transport facility,” he says. After much research, he found out that no taxis came to the pet owners’ rescue in transporting the pets. While it is hard to get an auto for a passenger, one can imagine the plight to catch an auto with a pet tagged along. So Santosh decided to go ahead with his plan and thus Pet Cab was born in 2013.
Starting with just one cab, the firm now has four cabs and has ferried many pets —not only in the City, but even to other states. “We started off with ferrying pets, majority of them being dogs, to their vets and play dates. Now, the pet owners can book the cab in advance online or by making a call. Booking through SMS is also available,” he says. A small service provider, he says the only challenge is the scarcity of cabs. “There is an abundance of pet owners looking for our service but we have limited number of cabs. Even though we want to expand the facility, it is not very convenient to get cab drivers agree to ferry the pets,” he says.
The pet cabs are to be modified with minimum upholstery. There has to be a partition made from the driver’s seat. The seats get dirty which calls for time-to-time cleaning to avoid infections. He adds that the present cab drivers are very cooperative and even clean the poop. “But not every one wants to do that,” he adds. However, the Pet Cab has managed to cater to a large number of pet owners in all the areas of the City.
The pets have even travelled in these cabs to Mumbai and Kolkata! “During long distance travel, we make sure to take pit stops as the pets are not very travel- friendly. We stop, take them for a small walk and make them feel comfortable,” he says. The firm also wants to start a pet ambulance service and he says, “We are looking for investors and we will give this service a head start.”
Santosh’s other brainchild — K9 — caters to hungry pets. They are provided with lavish lunch and dinner. “We serve food to the pets at their doorstep from 6.30 am to 8.30 pm,” he says.
The firm that also does its bit towards the street animals, wants to expand the service further with suitable sponsors.